They both did.
Richie, of course, wrote the song and took it to No. 1 in 1983. Buffett, meanwhile, guests on the new version from Richie’s latest album, the chart-topping “Tuskegee,” and has been playing it during the shows on his Lounging in the Lagoon Tour this year. But the men, who dubbed each other “cousin” during the July 28 show at Detroit’s Comerica Park, figured the crowd of 39,000-plus Parrotheads could handle two renditions, so Buffett, dressed in a Detroit Tigers jersey, joined Richie and his band at the end of their 65-minute opening set, and Richie, also sporting Tigers attire, returned the favor with Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band.
And while Buffett was the night’s headliner, he quipped at one point that “Lionel had to cut 10 hits out of his show. I get to do all 2.5 of mine.”
Buffett took credit for the “wild-ass idea” of having Richie on the show. “We don’t normally do opening acts,” Buffett tells Billboard.com, “but (the promoters) felt we needed an opening act. Then (‘Tuskegee’) came out and went No. 1, and I said, ‘Let’s call Lionel and see if he’d be interested in doing it.’ I thought that to play the baseball stadium in Detroit would be special enough to get him. And he called back and said he wanted to do it.”
Richie wasn’t Buffett’s only guest during the show, either. Detroit-based guitarist Earl Klugh joined the Buffett crew for “Jamaica Mistaica” and “Come Monday,” while the Miami Heat’s Shane Battier, a suburban Detroit native who played for Duke University, played congas on “Margaritaville,” though hoops fans needn’t worry about him hanging up his sneakers in order to make music any time soon.
Buffett also served up other hits he’s guested on, including the Zac Brown Band’s “Knee Deep” and Alan Jackson’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” but without those artists.